SZA made history as the first woman to sign to Top Dawg Entertainment, but she could've taken her career in another direction.
In a new interview New York Times Magazine published on Wednesday, February 8, the Grammy award-winning singer opened up about her early aspirations. She first met TDE founder Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith and Punch Henderson while promoting a clothing brand at Kendrick Lamar's headlining show in New York City back in the earl 2010s, and Punch instantly fell in love with her voice. Yet, at the beginning of her career, SZA found herself singing over beats produced by Brandun DeShay, a former member of Odd Future.
“Quiet as it’s kept,” SZA told journalist Danyel Smith, “I wanted to be with like, Odd Future ... I felt more like a Clancy girl.”
After making the move to Los Angeles, SZA said she used hang out with members of TDE and the late Mac Miller, who worked with 4 Strikes Management founders Christian Clancy and his wife, Kelly Clancy. 4 Strikes also worked with Tyler, the Creator and managed Frank Ocean. Despite how close she felt to the Clancys, the St. Louis native ultimately decided to sign with TDE two years after she met Top Dawg and Punch.
“It was two years after [they met in New York City],” Henderson explained about signing SZA. “But during that time frame, we kept in contact, and she would always send me songs.”
“Punch believed in me,” SZA said.
Punch still believes in her to this day. Earlier this week, he posted a photo of himself, Tiffith and SZA as they celebrated a new milestone in her career. After spending only two months in rotation, her SOS album has reached platinum status. Check out the photo below.